Gallery Visit

Physically visit an art gallery, exhibition or museum. Select a piece of work and develop a project for the primary classroom based on your study, research and understanding of the piece and its context.  Your portfolio must contain evidence of your attendance (e.g. ticket stub) and direct study of the piece e.g. your own notes and photographs, diagrams or scanned in rough sketches. It is essential that you see and engage with the piece directly as well as in reproduction.

I visited the McManus gallery in Dundee and selected a piece by David Batchelor which caught my attention.

“The only colours that interested me were unnatural and artificial colours. Industrial colours, city colours: chemical, electrical, plastic, metallic, neon…”

This particular piece caught my eye as it was bright and colourful and stood out amongst everything else in the McManus. It is made from 200 plastic bottles, electrical flex and low energy lamps. As you can see from the photos, the central concern for this piece is colour. The subject matter Batchelor explores are always rooted in the artificial and industrially manufactured world. Everything that he has used is found (manufactured for some purpose other than art) and ‘poor’, being used up or industrial. The ‘shiny’ colourful materials are always contrasted by the mechanisms of how the work is powered and supported – electrical flex, junction boxes and plugs (both of equal importance and both transformed into sculptural objects of mesmerising beauty).

A project for the classroom could involve taking pupils to the McManus to actually study the piece and allow them to take their own photos and make sketches. I thought this piece would be quite enjoyable for children as it is visually appealing and made out of household items. Following on from this, there could be a class project in which pupils help to recreate their own piece using this as the stimulus. Every pupil could bring an item from home that is artificial and goes to waste after emptied and then together, build their own. As a class, we could explore why we think Batchelor created this and what does it say about our environment and the place we live in. Moving away from Art, we could explore recycling plastics and the effect it has on our environment. Additionally, we could use bright, neon colours to paint our own version of the piece.


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